I was going to write a hard-hitting piece about the upcoming mayoral elections. But my inner self spoke to me and said, don’t do it. Nobody will care. And the truth is, that’s true. It’s Thanksgiving. People are focusing on fixing that big dinner. 

So I’ll just do this: I’ll ask as you sit around the table eating the turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes and all the other fixings, that you remind all eligible Chicago voters that their vote will count, come Tuesday, Feb. 26. The next mayor will have an effect on the entire city. Choose wisely.

Speaking of choosing wisely, I was in the dollar store the other day. I wanted a little small jar to keep some bobby pins in. Nothing fancy, but nothing cheesy either. As I looked at the offerings, I wasn’t impressed. Even if it only costs a dollar, I have to work for that money, so I want to spend it wisely.

The next morning as I fixed myself some toast and scraped the last bit of peach butter out of the jar, I admired how pretty the jar was. The lid was well made, and not a cheesy piece of plastic. The glass was pretty and clear, not like the cloudy one at the dollar store. I had my light-bulb moment. All I had to do was soak the jar in hot, soapy water, remove the label, and I would have a pretty little container to hold my bobby pins.

Later on that day, I was cleaning out my closet and before turning some old blouses and shirts into rags, I snipped off the buttons and added them to my button jar. I wonder how many people today still keep a button jar? When I was a little kid, I loved the smell of my mother’s button jar. All the buttons in it told a story of the different clothes we once wore and how those buttons continued to be useful by being part of another outfit. A button jar doesn’t have to be extra-large or fancy. It just needs to be able to hold a bunch of buttons that you don’t want to throw away. These days, a lot of the clothes come with buttons and zippers that don’t last. So when the original button breaks, it’s easy if you’ve kept a bunch of other buttons that can take the broken one’s place. Especially when it’s the button that holds your pants up that breaks.

A lot of my thrift ideas came from my mother, who was brought up during the Depression. She passed the “waste not” mentality on to me. Like my favorite, the “B” jar. Do you have one? Either a jar, can, or some other container holding bacon grease. If there’s one item that’s almost as good as the slice of bacon, it’s the grease that’s left behind. It’s the flavor additive for so many things that are a part of my turkey day. I use it in my cornbread instead of oil when I prepare it for my dressing. I add it to my pot of greens. And to my string beans. I use it to saute my onions and green peppers in my wild rice casserole. Bacon is one of the few items that nobody seems to include in a cookbook advising people on how to cook with it.

I wish everyone a Happy Turkey Day!